In the wake of the 9/11, when the nation was absorbed in mourning and militancy, the L.A.-based collective Build An Ark came together as a pacifistic response to the attacks. Masterminded by producer and arranger Carlos Niño and virtuoso composer Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (whom some may recognize from their orchestral tribute to J Dilla or collaborations with Flying Lotus) as well as vocalist and composer Dwight Trible, the group has complied a richly diverse catalog of music meant to inspire positivity in its listeners over the past decade. On The Stars Are Singing Too, BAA celebrates its 10-year anniversary with a collection of remixes, alternate takes and live recordings.
Not to be confused as a “leftovers” record, The Stars Are Singing Too plays more like a gift from the group to fans in celebration of its achievements since the band formed in 2001. While not the most accessible entryway into the music, this record will likely prompt an investigation into BAA’s earlier work for those with cosmopolitan tastes in music. Opener “Love,” an elegant Atwood-Ferguson piano solo, is as welcome and warm as an old friend, but what follows is a worm-tunneling, continent-hopping excursion.
Over the course of the 10 songs that follow, BAA explores, among other things: glitchy orchestral reconstructions (“Dimlite Remix”), free-flying improv (“Build An Ark Improvisation”), mantric chanting (“The Yes Song”), scat-speckled Latin jazz (“Peace And LOVE!”), Head Hunters-style jams (“Temple Jam”), atmospheric soundscapes (the DNTEL remix of the lush “Love, Sweet Like Sugar Cane”), a sitar solo (“Heal The Bay”) and a Van Morrison cover (the alternate take of “Sweet Thing”).
If there’s one constant throughout the cornucopia of styles, it’s the ensemble’s hallmark exuberant positive energy. Build An Ark keeps the good vibes on blast all the way through The Stars Are Singing Too, creating an anniversary record that feels as much like a world music lesson as a yoga class.